23rd to 29th March
Last week we had seventeen planned events based on the information provided by the respective international governing bodies of each sport. This week we have two, one that is currently in progress and the other that is due to start on Tuesday. After that the next scheduled event is only on the 17th April, but the date is tentative and dependent on local government advice and progress made by our health services. There is no doubt the COVID-19 virus has caught us all by surprise, apart from many Asian nations having experienced SARS more than a decade ago. Even though several cases were reported in Europe and the Americas, the scale of infection was nowhere near what we are experiencing today. As most of the world has entered into a type of self-isolation phase, we begin to wonder what the extent of the damage will be or when we will safely say it has been overcome. That the virus will be beaten is no question, it is the loss to human life, the cost of job losses, and the scar left on the social fabric of society, is where we cannot predict the scale of the impact of.
Even so, the one aspect we have control over is the latter, our reaction and our conduct during this time. I was saddened to personally experience how supermarket shelves in London were emptied out. What has happened when we only want to look out for ourselves and not care that others will go without? I too had to stop myself from buying something I did not need, simply as it was one of the few items still available. This is no reflection on other nations or even the rest of the United Kingdom. The obvious heroes are our hospital staff, but the ones going under the radar are those working in our food stores, often with very little protection. Now that we are right in the middle of it, there is still time to reflect, to shine and look out for each other. Sport is also an industry and many other industries will suffer greatly from the cancellations and postponements over the next few weeks. They have also experienced great job losses and I hope it will bring a greater appreciation and awareness of those working tirelessly behind the scenes so that our sport stars and teams can shine on our screens. Let us cherish the next time we get the clearance for all sports events to go ahead.
As I mentioned earlier, the one event currently in progress is the Candidates Tournament 2020 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. This prestigious chess tournament will feature until the 5th April and after the third day, China's Ding Liren defeated the world number two Fabiano Caruana, throwing the tournament wide open again. All safety precautions are being taken by the organisers. Staff wear masks and gloves, there are hand sanitizers everywhere, and the audience is not allowed near the playing area. The other event starting on Tuesday, is the super final of the Paragliding World Cup Tour that will take place in Castelo, Brazil. We have been keeping an eye on the latest news and so far all indications are the event will start on Tuesday and complete on the 4th April.
Until next time, stay safe and healthy!